Harvested from the gardens at Monticello. Thomas Jefferson regularly planted Marrowfat Peas at Monticello every two weeks in early spring. They first appeared in his Garden Book on March 12, 1773: “sowed a patch of Early peas, and another of Marrow fats.” This large pea ripens later than other garden peas, June 24 in 1819 at Monticello, and was generally dried and used in soups, but is also enjoyable when boiled or canned.
This late-season English, or shelling, pea prefers cool, moist conditions. Direct sow in fertile garden loam when the soil can be worked in late winter to early spring. For improved germination, soak seeds overnight before sowing. Monticello gardeners support the twining vines with tall branches, or “pea sticks.” Harvest in late spring or early summer when the pods are plump and tender or leave on the vines to dry if your goal is a soup pea. Approximately 15-20 seeds per packet.
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